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Cosmetic drama

Cosmetic drama

Film: Drame Aale

Director: Chander Kamboj

Cast: Sukhwinder Chahal, Harish Verma, Sharan Kaur, Rubi Anam, Qaiser Piya, Malik Asif Iqbal, Sardar Kamal, Honey Albela

Gurnaaz Kaur

‘Drame Aale’, as the name suggests, revolves around Punjabi theatre artistes who find themselves in England to present a play at the request of a British-Punjabi, portrayed by Sukhwinder Chahal. However, there’s a twist — these theatre artistes, played by Rubi Anam, Qaiser Piya, Malik Asif Iqbal, Sardar Kamal and Honey Albela, are not Indian but Pakistani. Thus unfolds the tale of five individuals with ‘exceptional’ talent trying to make their mark on foreign shores. Before delving into their world, we are introduced to Harish Verma’s character, Jija, who works illegally for Sukhwinder’s BB.

From the outset, chaos erupts among these actors as one of them flees, leaving the audience to grapple with the ensuing confusion. The first half-hour is spent understanding whether the Pakistani artistes like or dislike Jija, whether they will perform the play, and if they are attempting to locate their missing comrade. Meanwhile, the director’s intent behind these tangled relationships is unclear, making it difficult for the audience to discern the purpose.

Amidst this confusion, the entry of Sharan Kaur as make-up artist Sultan adds another layer to the narrative. Apparently, these artistes have spent days practicing for their grand act but not once do the viewers get to witness the rehearsals. Instead, the focus remains on altercations between Punjabis from Pakistan and a Punjabi from India. In a sudden turn of events, Sultan and Jija fall in love after just two scenes! Unfortunately, Sharan Kaur’s presence is reduced to a mere glam prop, her acting skills are hopefully to be discovered in another film. Scenes are disjointed, the story keeps shifting rather jumping from one point to another. In bits and pieces, you do acknowledge these are good actors holding on to a bad script.

The ongoing discord between Punjabis from the two countries takes a new turn as Sultan, also a Pakistani, is expected to marry a legal resident of England, which Jija is not. Forced scenes of discord follow until a twist occurs just as the artistes are ready to perform on stage. Jija is hospitalised and the missing crew member reappears, right at the time when the Pakistanis are ready to return to their country. A disappointed Sukhwinder Chahal, who wasn’t ready to see the artistes for another minute, has a change of heart when Sardar Kamal breaks down learning how Jija got injured. Suddenly, they decide to showcase a new play.

This is where the film finally finds its footing and begins to make sense. The new play emphasises unity beyond politics, spanning from the Partition to the separation of two childhood friends. The emotional turn redeems the film to some extent, especially with the natural and effortless performances of the child actors. Their older versions (sorry for the spoiler), played by Sardar Kamal and Harish Verma, are also thorough with their craft. However, the film’s ending is ultimately disappointing.

Despite the effort to make it comic and serious in equal parts, Drame Aale falls short. The director’s attempt to incorporate multiple storylines results in a confusing and unproductive fare. While there is a clear message and some talented actors, the film ends up being a mishmash of weak characters and confused narrative.